Work Placement with Piran Films

 In Cornwall

Hi, I am Katie Davis and I have just completed the second year  of my BA (Hons) Television Production degree at Bournemouth University.  I am currently fulfilling the course requirement of  20 days work  placement within a professional environment in my industry.

At University, I am really into Pre-Production. I am usually found doing a variety of paperwork for friends and being their Production Manager or Production Assistant on shoots – something I take a huge interest in, as I aim to become either Producer or a Production Manager at ITV.

I recently moved to Cornwall from London and was keen to find out more about the area that I would be spending the most of my foreseeable future in. I started researching various Video Production companies for one of my summer work placements and  stumbled upon Piran Films. I was intrigued by their approach to creating content within my industry: corporate, live events and  life stories (www.lifestoriesonvideo.com)

Having contacted Mark Huckle via email, I was delighted to receive his offer of a work placement. He stated that it would be hands on filming and editing, as opposed to my usual office-based work. Intrigued to step out of my comfort zone, Mark informed me that my first day of placement with him would be filming a wedding in Fowey.

Attending the call time of 8am on Saturday 5th August, Mark and I drove to Fowey and set up for the long day of filming ahead. I was tasked to man two cameras during the service, as well as pack the equipment away after the service was finished so we could quickly move onto our next location. I really enjoyed this experience as I would not normally have the confidence to take on the role of Camera Operator. It was interesting to work in such a busy environment and adapt to sudden changes.

One alarming incident, for example, occurred when I was filming the procession of the bride and groom down the aisle and out of the church. The wedding photographer, who shall remain nameless, stepped out and stood directly in front of my shot, despite me asking her politely to move. Luckily, we solved this problem (as you can see below in the brief excerpt from the Wedding Day DVD) when it came to the edit. We used some of the footage from the shoulder camera (camera 3) which Mark used.

Not only was the role of  Camera Operator not my forte, neither was that of an Editor. Mark gave me the responsibility to edit the entire wedding, although he was at my side for most of the time sharing editing theory as we worked our way through.  Mark demonstrated the amazing technique of multi-cam editing in Adobe Premiere Pro and we were quickly able to synchronise the footage from the three cameras and select the various camera angles as if we were in a live mixing recording studio

Over the course of 7 days, I cut the wedding day DVD, with the help of Mark, and  I am proud of the end result. I  hope the couple will enjoy it on their return from honeymoon in Dubai.

We faced a number of problems during post. Audio was an issue during the service and speeches.  In the church a disabled guest at the front sat by one of our microphones, occasionally talking to his helper and dramatically cleared his throat on a number of occasions. This was picked up on the microphone and had to be addressed by inserting fresh recorded organ music and overlaying organ music from a prior chorus. The speeches were a challenge as well. The father of the bride didn’t speak loudly enough into the microphone and one of the best men held the microphone too close to his mouth, causing the audio to peak. Adobe Audition helped iron out some of these problems.  The weather didn’t help either. Whilst it looked aesthetically pleasing to film inside a beautifully decorated marquee, filming into the sun reflecting on to the white fabric meant that the light was continually changing.  This time Adobe Colour came to the rescue,  albeit at the expense of having to reduce the colour saturation and to avoid red faces; theirs and ours.  I believe we did well.

Overall, my work placement at Piran Films has been an enjoyable one. Mark’s approach to teaching  has increased my confidence and developed my skills as a camera operator and editor. Believe it or not, I am now keen to do more of these in my final year at University, and afterwards.

My time at Piran Films was not only beneficial but fun. Mark is a great character and I felt very welcomed by his family.

I strongly recommend Mark to anyone  interested in expanding their knowledge and experience of shooting and editing.  I came to appreciate Mark’s unflappable and confident nature and would encourage future Work Placement students not to worry about things like I did (e.g. the filming of the procession down the aisle). Have faith in Mark to address problems that arise as they are easily overcome with some lateral thinking over a cup of tea.

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